May 23, 2011

Thanks to CCP (Campaign for the Children of Palestine), one of the NPOs that belongs to Japan Platform, children in Otsuchi received about 2,000 “Pika-Pika” stationery packs. There were different items in each pack, and children from preschool to high school were allowed to choose their own, so they had fun looking through the boxes and picking out the one they wanted. CCP also collected more than 3,000 toys, books, and manga from over 100 donors, which they used to start a toy and book library for the children of Otsuchi.

JEN‘s website featured a story by a volunteer who went to help with the clean-up earlier this month. The volunteer was part of a team that included people of different nationalities, ages, genders, and occupations, but they all pulled together to work as a team. The work was hard—cleaning up sludge and hay, clearing debris, cleaning up homes, and delivering supplies. But they were warmly greeted by the people in the area, who showed them their appreciation by bringing them food or shouting out, “Thanks for your hard work!” The Golden Week holiday saw a rush of volunteers into the area. This volunteer noted that, unlike the Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, when the disaster seemed like “fires on a distant shore” (or in other words, not something that affected you personally), this time the information available on the Internet and social networking sites made the disaster seem more personal, and the response has therefore been much stronger from individuals and companies. As the volunteer noted, however, the challenge is to keep that momentum going, and they encouraged people not to worry about having experience. If you want to go help, then go!